UpdateEU/South Korea FTA good news for chems - Cefic

15 October 2009 16:39  [Source: ICIS news]

EU trade commissioner Catherine AshtonBRUSSELS (ICIS News)--The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) said on Thursday that it warmly welcomed the free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the EU, and hoped it would pave the way for similar deals with other countries.

“The chemical industry depends on open trade and this is a good agreement for us,” said Rene van Sloten, Cefic’s trade expert.

The EU already has a positive trade balance in chemicals with South Korea and van Sloten said he hoped this would now “develop further”.

He also insisted on the importance of the deal in “lowering import costs for certain materials” that are necessary to the chemical industry.

“This deal shows a commitment to free trade and is especially important in this time of looming protectionism,” said van Sloten.

However, he said it was “difficult to forecast” in absolute numbers how the deal will benefit the EU chemical industry.

He said Cefic hoped that the EU would now renew efforts to conclude similar agreements with India, Canada and other Asian countries such as Indonesia.

EU trade commissioner Catherine Ashton and Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon initialled the agreement, estimated to be worth up to €19bn ($28bn) in new trade for EU exporters, in Brussels on Thursday morning.

The Commission called it “the most important [FTA] ever negotiated between the EU and a third country”. It will present the agreement to EU member states in early 2010.

Following their approval and that of the EU presidency, the FTA will then be presented to the European Parliament for a final sign off.

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By: Philippa Jones
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